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Subject: Re: Leontyne Price online?
From: Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 14 Jul 2017 22:18:36 -0700
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I love Charlie and Walter. I don’t always agree with them, but I love their passion and conviction.

Some of Charlie’s jokes are corny, but I vastly prefer corny humor to lack of humor. Some of Walter’s English isn’t perfect, but it’s way better than my Spanish or Portuguese.

I never find either of them boring and that, to me, is worth a lot.

But why does anyone get angry about these things? I saw Leontyne Price a number of times and sometimes I liked her better than others, but always got the experience of a great singer. If someone else says she’s inaudible or that her phrasing is crap, why would it bother me? I heard what I heard and what I heard was great. If someone else heard otherwise, that’s their sensibilities and their ears but it doesn’t invalidate my own experience.

There is a dividing line in the way people perceive these things, though. In the realm of Artificial Intelligence (the area I work in), people speak of a “ground truth.” This means that there is somehow an objective absolute that one can use as a reference and there are places where you can find such a thing exists and places where it’s very hard to determine that.

“Ground truth” listeners believe that for every role there is a “right” type of voice and are very sensitive to hearing what they consider a “wrong” voice for a particular role or repertoire. Sometimes I get that way and I sense internal alarms when I perceive a singer using what I consider to be artificial means to create a sound that seems inherently outside the natural domain of their instrument. Am I right? Sometimes probably yes, sometimes probably no.

I felt much more strongly about such things when I was younger. Now, most often I don’t worry about whether a singer is “right” or “wrong” for the role, I concern myself with “Is it convincing?” Ist es überzeugend? Wenn ja, gut dann.

In various opera houses, despite the relatively smaller caliber of her voice, I’ve had no trouble hearing Angela Gheorghiu, finding her often exquisitely beautiful sounding and also finding her completely convincing as Magda, Mimi, the “Boccanegra” Amelia, Violetta and Marguerite. I haven’t seen her Adriana. If someone else finds her totally mediocre and false and inaudible, I’m sorry they didn’t like it but it doesn’t change what I saw and felt. But I certainly don’t get angry because they heard something different from me. And if they get angry at me because I reacted so positively to her, that’s their problem.

What I do get angry about is condescension. If someone puts on that if I hear or think something different from what they do, that it’s a sign of my not being sufficiently knowledgeable, perceptive or of not having thought through something well enough; that can piss me off. Sorry, but nobody here on this list is expert enough to pull that on me and that does annoy me.

Max Paley


> On Jul 14, 2017, at 2:01 PM, donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Good for you.  I might too if I knew him; I'm only
> responding to what he writes, (not to mention his
> blocking of replies).  I might even agree with him
> about Price, but he does annoy her fans by picking
> on her so often.
> 
> On Fri, Jul 14, 2017 at 12:28 PM, Idia Legray <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
>> I like him
>> 
>> 
> 
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